Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Summer Squash Gratin

I was going through my vegetable drawers today and found that I had an overabundance of yellow summer squash. Between my CSA membership and gardeners at work sharing their bounty, I realized it was time to take action. This recipe came from an internet search which led to a blog called 101 cookbooks. You can view the original recipe at or just stay here since I pretty much only made a few minor changes. This was the first gratin I ever made that didn’t have some sort of cream base for the sauce. Don’t get excited thinking it is low-fat as you will see it is loaded with buttery goodness. While shopping for the few items that we didn’t have on hand we made a great discovery. The recipe called for Gruyère cheese and up to this point I thought all Gruyères were created equal. Boy was I wrong. We came across Antique Gruyère cheese at Busch’s market and decided to give it a shot. I can’t tell you how happy that decision made me. The only way I can explain it is that it is a bit drier and saltier leaning towards a mild Parmesan Reggiano but not quite. Anyway if you can find it give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed. OK, so here is what you will need.


Zest of one lemon

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 1/2 lbs of yellow summer squash

1/4 cup of fresh oregano

1/4 cup of Italian flat leaf parsley

1 large garlic clove pressed

1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt

Decent pinch or crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup of unsalted butter

2 cups of course homemade bread crumbs

1/2 pound of Yukon Gold potatoes

3/4 cup of Gruyère cheese (antique if you can find it)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice zucchini very thin making all of the slices as even as possible (I used a mandolin) to about 1/16 of an inch. Place zucchini slices in a colander and toss with the 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Let drain in sink for 15 minutes. Rub olive oil in a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Slice the Yukon gold potatoes the same thickness so they cook evenly and set aside.

Make the sauce by pureeing the olive oil, garlic, 1/4tsp of salt, oregano, parsley and the red pepper flakes together and set aside.

Melt the butter in a sauce pan and lightly brown the bread crumbs and set aside.

Transfer the squash and potatoes to a large bowl and toss with 2/3 of the sauce, the cheese, lemon zest and half of the breadcrumbs. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Transfer the mixture to the oiled pan laying flat and top with the rest of the breadcrumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes until the potatoes are soft covering loosely with foil if the breadcrumbs begin to brown too quickly.

When done remove from the oven and drizzle with the remaining sauce, let rest for a few minutes and serve.



Every year we receive garlic scapes from our CSA farm. If you have never tried garlic scapes they are the young of the year shoots from the top of the garlic. Garlic scapes are becoming more and more popular. Look for them at your local farm markets. If you find them unavailable I would use one small garlic clove pressed or fresh chives for this recipe. The following recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart.


1/2 of a 15oz can of beans rinsed and drained. (I had Pintos on hand but I think Cannellini would have been better)

8 ounces of fresh green beans cut in half or two-inch lengths

8 ounces of sugar snap peas cut in half

3 garlic scapes cut into small pieces (or listed options)

2 ears of corn husked

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons of champagne vinegar

1/4 cup of fresh tarragon chopped

kosher salt and black pepper

6 ounces of grape tomatoes cut in half

1 avocado cut into pieces


Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the green beans, sugar snap peas, garlic scapes, and corn for two minutes. Remove immediately and place into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Cut the corn off of the cob and mix in a large bowl with the rest of the vegetables after draining well. Make the vinaigrette in a separate bowl by mixing the tarragon, oil, and champagne vinegar whisking well until emulsified. Add the vinaigrette, beans, tomatoes, and avocado and gently stir. Serve right away.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

I served this salad as a side dish tonight with a combination of vegetables that I received from friends and our CSA farm membership. As usual the picture just doesn’t tell the story. This dish was simple and delicious. The multiple colors of the vegetables along with the grill marks really made this salad visually appealing. The fresh flavors were that of only what a local farm or home garden can give. Make the feta cheese optional and you have a vegan dish that is still guaranteed to satisfy.


One small fennel bulb cut into quarters plus 1/4 cup of the fronds

One orange bell pepper seeded, stemmed and cut into four pieces

Three thick slices of red onion from a large onion or to taste

One medium zucchini cut lengthwise into four pieces

One medium yellow summer squash cut lengthwise into four pieces

Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing

Kosher salt

Three tablespoons of red wine vinegar

1 1/2 cups of grape tomatoes cut in half

Three tablespoons of fresh basil cut into chiffonade

Feta cheese optional.


Lay out all of the vegetables on a cookie sheet or cutting board. Lightly brush will olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Grill on all sides leaving long enough to get pronounced grill marks. Set aside to cool. When cool cut into pieces and place into a medium bowl. Add the two tablespoons of the olive oil and the three tablespoons of the red wine vinegar. Add the basil, the fennel fronds, and the grape tomatoes and toss well. Let marinate for 10 to 15 minutes for the flavors to blend. Add the feta cheese at the table and enjoy. Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.

Farro and Vegetable Soup (Vegetarian)

I have had a busy couple of weeks and have not been able to post any recipes. However, the cooking continued and the kitchen was busy. I also made a mistake and somehow deleted all of my photos during the transfer into my media library. As I said before I wont post recipes without pictures so I will have to remake the recipes. This was a  major setback for me but I’m back in action and ready to roll. The following recipe really hit the spot when I was recovering from a cold. It is also very hearty and healthy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This recipe is adapted from The New York Times Recipes for Health.




1 1/2 cups Farro (spelt) rinsed

1 ounce dried porcini or mixed wile mushrooms

olive oil

1 onion chopped

1/2 pound carrots chopped

2 celery stalks chopped

1/2 pound cabbage shredded or chopped

2 to 4 garlic cloves 

1 bouquet garni with 1 bay leaf, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of parsley, and a parmesan cheese rind if available tied in a cheesecloth.

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

2 1/2 quarts vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup parsley chopped

shredded Gruyère cheese

Directions:Soak the Farro in water for an hour and drain. Place dried mushrooms in a glass measuring cup and top with 2 cups of boiling water for 30 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth reserving the mushrooms and liquid. Chop and set aside. Saute the onion in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and cabbage and cover. Saute for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chopped parsley and the shredded Gruyère cheese. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 1 hour or until the Farro is soft. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve topped with the cheese.

Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup (Vegetarian or Not)

This thick hearty soup was just the thing to go with the kale salad for dinner tonight. I’m really starting to enjoy roasting the vegetables before using them in soups. It adds an extra dimension of flavor over just simmering them in the broth. The original recipe called for chicken broth but it is equally good keeping it vegetarian.  

Inspired by Eating for England Cooking Blog


2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed

4 carrots peeled and cubed the same size as the sweet potatoes

olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons of cumin

scant 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika

1/2  13.6 ounce can of coconut milk

20 to 24 ounces of vegetable broth (or chicken) or more depending on the size of the sweet potatoes and carrots

sprouted or roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the sweet potatoes and carrots with the oil and toss with the spices. Place on a cookie sheet and roast for about 40 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients except for the pumpkin seeds in a pot and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Simmer until warmed through. Serve topped with the pumpkin seeds.

Kale Salad with Apple,Cheese and Toasted Almonds

One of the things that I like to do in the winter is to make salads with greens other than lettuce. Crisp greens make a great replacement and add variety over the same old green salad. Tomatoes are also at their worst during the winter months. When tomatoes are lousy I just like to skip them altogether. Many people don’t realize that most tomatoes in the stores are picked very underripe. Then they are shipped in trucks and forced to ripen artificially with gases while heading to their final destination. This doesn’t just occur during the winter months but during the growing season as well. The only way around this is to grow them yourself or join a local C.S.A. farm and get them delivered the day after they are picked. You can join the one I belong to if you live in Michigan, just click on the link on my homepage. So you might ask what do you do with no lettuce and tomatoes? You replace them with greens, fruit, and cheese which go great with a bowl of hearty soup on a cold winter evening.  This is what we had tonight.

Adapted from Recipes for Health New York Times

Ingredients for the Salad 

4 cups of fine chopped kale (any variety)

1 sweet apple such as a fuji diced

1 ounce of sharp cheddar cheese diced

grated parmesan cheese 

toasted almond slices or toasted pine nuts

Ingredients for the vinaigrette

5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of FRESH squeezed lemon juice (not the bottled garbage)

1 clove of pressed garlic

salt to taste

Directions:  Combine the kale, apple and cheddar cheese in a bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt until emulsified. Toss well with the salad. sprinkle the almonds or pine nuts on top and top with shredded parmesan cheese.  

Black Bean Chipotle Dip

Just in time for the Superbowl. This hot bean dip is always a hit. This can be easily doubled for a larger gathering. However, don’t double the vinegar. Add vinegar to taste after the first three tablespoons or it will be a bit overpowering. 

Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine


olive oil

2 medium tomatoes seeded and chopped

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1 large yellow onion chopped

3 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of chili powder

2 15 1/2 oz  cans of black beans rinsed and drained

2 canned chipotles en adobo minced (with the sauce that is attached)

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed)

6 ounces of grated sharp cheddar

6 ounces grated Monterey jack

3/4 cup of chopped cilantro

black pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 1 1/2 to 2 quart baking dish. Place chopped tomatoes in a colander and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and let drain in the sink. Saute the onion in oil along with the other teaspoon of kosher salt until translucent. Add the garlic and chili powder and cook another minute. Add one can of the beans, chipotles, and 3/4 cup of water and bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or immersion blender until fairly smooth. Place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the beans, the tomatoes, corn and half of each of the cheeses. Add the cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to the greased baking dish and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. This can be made in advance and refrigerated just bake a bit longer. Enjoy

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